Thursday, September 13, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Indians 5, Rangers 4
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan blew his first save since April 11 (the sixth game of the season) as the Indians came back from two runs down in the ninth to beat Texas, 5-4. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers were not able to extend their AL West lead on the Oakland A's, who lost to the Angels earlier Thursday. So the lead remains three games. ... Texas is 0-for-6 in sweep chances since its last sweep, back on June 18-20 in San Diego. ... Texas had been 75-1 when leading after eight innings before Thursday's loss.
Rare blown save: Rangers closer Joe Nathan blew his first save in more than five months, ending a streak of 31 consecutive saves converted. Nathan came into the ninth with a two-run lead and gave up a solo home run to Ezequiel Carrera and then allowed a two-run homer to Jason Kipnis to give the Indians a 5-4 lead. ... Nathan gave up hits to four straight batters and was lifted in favor of Koji Uehara. ... It was Nathan's third straight game on the mound. It's the first time he's pitched three straight days since June 26-28 (two against Detroit, one against Oakland).
Lots of baserunners: Derek Holland seemed to be pitching with runners on base all night. He put at least one on in five of his seven innings and in four of those innings he dealt with two baserunners. It finally caught up to him in the sixth, when Matt LaPorta homered after Vinny Rottino singled. ... But the Indians left seven runners stranded against Holland, who allowed seven hits.
Holland homer: The LaPorta home run was his first of the season and it was the 27th allowed by Holland in 2012. That's good enough for sixth in the AL (Ervin Santana leads with 35).
Strange sacrifice, bounces: Vinny Rottino tried to bunt a high fastball down the first base line and it rolled foul in the eighth. But it hit the grass against the dirt as it rolled halfway up the line and spun back into fair territory just before the bag. Mitch Moreland had to glove it at that point and got the out, but the sacrifice worked. Had the Rangers gloved the ball in foul territory, it would have been a strike and Rottino would have likely tried again. ... Later that same inning, LaPorta's bouncer down the third base line stayed just inside the line before getting to the bag for an infield hit. It just seemed like the ball wanted to stay fair for the Indians in the eighth.
Ogando gets (big) outs: Alexi Ogando came in with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and got the Rangers out of a major jam in a tie game. He got ahead to Lonnie Chisenhall 0-2 and then couldn't locate his slider to push the count to 3-2 before blowing a 97 mph fastball past him for a strikeout. Ogando then got Jack Hannahan to fly out to center. ... Tanner Scheppers started the inning and Martin Perez had a four-pitch walk to left-handed hitter Shin-Soo Choo before Ogando came in.
Young delivers: Michael Young had a solid game. He made a nice defensive play to get to a hard, low liner to his left in the fourth. He then had a hit the other way with runners in scoring position in the fourth to score the first run of the game. Young also singled to right in the sixth and singled to center to score the fourth run of the game. It was his second RBI and he has at least one RBI in nine of his last 13 games.
Taking advantage of mistakes: Once again, the Indians made a fielding error in this series and the Rangers pounced on it. Moreland's ground ball to third appeared to be a double play ball. But the throw from second base to first was high. That allowed Nelson Cruz to trot home with the second run of the game (and the fourth inning) to give Texas a 2-0 lead. ... In the eighth, an errant throw by shortstop Brent Lillibridge put Elvis Andrus at second base. He went to third on David Murphy's fly out and then scored when Cruz's ground ball to third was booted by Hannahan for the second error of the inning and third of the game.
Streak continues: The blown save allowed Andrus to come up with two outs in the ninth and he hit a triple to push his streak of hitting safely against the Cleveland Indians to 32 games. It's the longest hitting streak vs. one opponent in club history.
Uehara does job: Uehara entered the ninth inning with a runner in scoring position and no outs and was able to get out of the inning without allowing the run to score. He's been pitching well recently as his splitter has had great movement. He got all three left-handed batters he faced Wednesday and pitched out of the ninth-inning jam Thursday.
3 million strong: The Rangers passed the three-million mark in attendance this season. Read about that here.
Up next: Yu Darvish (14-9, 4.14 ERA) goes up against RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4, 3.39 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. Darvish is four strikeouts away from 200. He'd become just third AL rookie since 1976 to reach that mark.